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The Playgroup Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009955819X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558194
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A must-read for anyone who has small children or knows them. Hugely enjoyable" (Katie Fforde)

"This has a sparkle, a lightness of touch and a deep, true charm. It is written from the heart." (Elizabeth Buchan)

"I read without stopping" (Fay Weldon)

"I loved it. A terrific story and enormous fun" (Judy Astley)

"Warmly and engagingly written and with an engaging cast of characters, The Playgroup captivated me from the very first page." (Trisha Ashley)

Book Description

Enter the chaotic world of The Playgroup complete with uncontrollable children, frantic mothers and teachers doing the best they can. A brilliant new novel for fans of Melissa Nathan

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As someone who works in a school, I love reading books set in the environment because I find it fun to see how accurately an author has portrayed the job and situation for being in a school, so when I heard about Janey Fraser's novel The Playgroup, I knew it would be one I would want to read! I think the cover is great, and really portrays what the book is about, and I think it looks cute too! In case you weren't aware, Janey Fraser is the real name of Sophie King, under which name she has published several (rather excellent) novels so if you enjoy this, then do check out Sophie King's novels too. I found the book to be very realistic, and found I could relate to a lot of the scenarios too which was fantastic, and while it has its laugh out loud moments, the main crux of the story is very serious and made for a fantastic read.

Gemma Merryfield is pleased to finally be able to be in charge of her beloved Puddleducks nursery group, and is loving her job. Yes, the children can sometimes be challenging, and the parents even more so. But when a new teacher, Joe, takes over the reception class at the primary school linked to the nursery, the pair quickly clash and Gemma can't understand why he seems to have a problem with her. Couple that with the serious illness of one her small charges, and Gemma's life is quickly becoming more and more stressful, and running the nursery isn't quite as simple as she had hoped! I have to say I LOVE the character of Gemma. She was very believable and sounds like such a great nursery teacher, and Fraser writes her as someone who is great with the children too. I really liked reading about her, and wanted her to be happy.
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Format: Paperback
I have to be honest in the first few chapters i found the book to be really hectic, it seemed to be jam packed with characters and was a little hard to follow as it flitted from one person to another but knowing from my own experience when i take my daughter to her playgroup, this is exactly what nursery and playgroup life is like. Lots of hustle and bustle and children doing their own little things and this translated in the page i could totally imagine how chaotic it could be.
In the book we follow Gemma Merryfield as she takes over being in charge of puddleducks playgroup. I found the character of Gemma lovely to read you could really see that she is passionate about her job and really cares about the children within the group. I loved the little nursery songs inbeteween the chapters and found these where a lovely touch (me and my 3 yr old daughter have been singing the toothbrush one) Gemma's every move however is under scrutiny from Joe Balls who is the new head at the neighbouring school to puddleducks. Joe and Gemma dont get off to the greatest of starts and he has a very different view about how the playgroup should be run. I did at times find the character of Joe quite irritating but i have to admit that as the book flowed i started to get drawn in by his character. There is definately more to Joe Balls than meets the eye.
I don't want to give away any spoilers to this book so its quite difficult for me to review because there is so much i want to say but cant. I did like how the parents own stories were written, It flitted from each character's stories with enough detail that it was almost like reading several different books in one. I particuarly like reading about Nancy's character and found myself always wondering how things would pan out for her.
The is a lovely gentle paced book and anyone thats ever taken thier child to a playgroup or knows what messy play is will definatly enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
Janey Fraser is just one of the pen names used by journalist Jane Bidder who has also written books under another pen name, Sophie King. I wonder does she ever get confused as to which name she should use when answering the phone...

The main characters in the book are Gemma, who is temporarily running Puddleducks playgroup whilst Miriam is on maternity leave, and Joe Balls, an ex corporate banker who has just been appointed as the new head of the reception class at nearby Corrybank primary school. At first they cannot see eye to eye, Joe doesn't believe the children are being taught enough, especially a lack of maths, and thinks that there is too much emphasis being put on play and fun rather than education whereas Gemma believes that play can be educational.

But certain events that happen force them to work together and see the good qualities that each of them has to offer.

I loved reading about the interactions of the children with each other and the little traits that some of them had, particularly the behavioural issues with Billy, so it's obvious that she has done a lot of research into this or knows a child with similar problems as I could recall memories of someone I knew just from the types of actions she was describing.
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